Are we accurately measuring physical activity in older adults?

Heesch, K., Van Uffelen, J. and Brown, W. (2009). Are we accurately measuring physical activity in older adults?. In: C. Finch, Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport (Supplement 2) Program and Abstracts - be active '09. 2009 Australia Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport, Seventh National Physical Activity Conference, Sixth National Sports Injury Prevention Conference, Be Active '09, Brisbane, (e78-e79). 14-17 October, 2009.


Author Heesch, K.
Van Uffelen, J.
Brown, W.
Title of paper Are we accurately measuring physical activity in older adults?
Formatted title
Conference name 2009 Australia Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport, Seventh National Physical Activity Conference, Sixth National Sports Injury Prevention Conference, Be Active '09
Conference location Brisbane
Conference dates 14-17 October, 2009
Proceedings title Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport (Supplement 2) Program and Abstracts - be active '09   Check publisher's open access policy
Place of Publication Australia
Publisher Elsevier Australia
Publication Year 2009
DOI 10.1016/j.jsams.2009.10.161
ISSN 1440-2440
Editor C. Finch
Volume 12
Issue Suppl. 2
Start page e78
End page e79
Total pages 1
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary Introduction: Given the health benefits of physical activity (PA) for older adults and the ageing of the population, it is important to include older adults in PA surveillance. Most questionnaires used for PA surveillance are developed for the general adult population, and their appropriateness for older adults has not been evaluated. Our aim was to examine how older adults interpret and understand questions about their PA and the errors they make in responding to these, using qualitative cognitive interviewing techniques.

Methods
: Four PA surveillance questionnaires were examined: Active Australia questions (AAQ), Behaviour Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), International PA Questionnaire (IPAQ) and PA Scale for Elderly (PASE). Participants were 55 community-dwelling adults aged 65+ yrs. They completed the questionnaires in a face-to-face semi-structured interview, using the “concurrent think-aloud” method, in which they thought out loud when answering questions. Interviews were transcribed and coded in NVivo. Coding was performed by multiple researchers to ensure inter-rater reliability of the analysis. Data were coded according to the Four-Stage Model, into the categories of (1) comprehension (understanding the question as intended); (2) information retrieval (recalling the information from long-term memory); (3) judgment (determining how to formulate a response, such as by computations or estimation); and (4) response formulation (fitting the answer into pre-specified response formats and editing responses based on social desirability and self-presentation).

Results: 28 men and 27 women (mean age = 73, SD = 6, range 65–89) were interviewed. 45% did not have a university degree. Problems were found with all questionnaires. Problems included difficulty with the phrasing and terminology (e.g., misunderstanding of “moderate” and “vigorous” [all questionnaires]), making accurate estimations of the time spent in activities (e.g., calculating time spent sitting per day [IPAQ]), deciding which activities to include in responses (e.g., some included only activities listed as examples; others included activities beyond the examples [BRFSS]), reporting the same activity multiple times on one questionnaire (e.g., reporting walking behaviour in both walking and moderate activity questions [AAQ]), and the intensity of the activities given as examples did not match with participants’ perceptions of the intensity of these activities [vacuuming was not perceived as “heavy housework” [PASE].

Conclusions: The results indicate that the four commonly-used PA questionnaires are not working for older adults as intended by the questionnaire developers. The problems uncovered in this study can be used to improve the questionnaires for use in national and international PA surveillance of older adults.

Subjects EX
920205 Health Education and Promotion
1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
111712 Health Promotion
940103 Ageing and Older People
Q-Index Code EX

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Human Movement Studies Publications
 
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Created: Wed, 10 Mar 2010, 20:44:19 EST by Deborah Noon on behalf of Faculty Of Health Sciences